Editor’s note: Daryl Toor is chief awareness officer at Awareness.As the year nears its end, many businesses and entrepreneurs are making plans and budgets for 2005. Those plans could include anything from setting up goals for new products to preparing marketing, sales and PR/publicity campaigns. When it comes to your publicity plan, when you launch your campaign can be just as important as what and how you launch.

Some business owners may be of the mindset: “I think we’ll wait to launch a publicity campaign until after Jan. 1 to generate consumer interest.” But if you wait to launch your publicity campaign until the first of the year, hoping for a quick media interest blast in January, you may be in for a quiet start of the year. Keep in mind most media outlets have editorial lead-times of a few weeks to six months. Also, what some entrepreneurs don’t realize is this: because of the increasing number of publicity pitches media outlets receive, anything you submit is subjected to what I call the “media digestion period.”

Time lead in media

Simply put that is a period of time (sometimes days, sometimes weeks) that it takes media outlets to:

  • See and understand your release and decide if they are interested

  • Find space/time in their editorial calendar to place the article/news story/show segment.
  • Given the right media research and pitching expertise, there are several media opportunities you could pursue. From my professional experience, here is the breakdown of editorial lead-times of the media formats from quickest to most drawn out: (These are estimates and can vary from campaign to campaign.)

  • Radio shows: one to four weeks lead-time

  • TV news affiliate shows: two to six weeks lead-time

  • Daily and weekly newspapers: three to eight weeks lead-time

  • Magazines and network TV shows: one to six months lead-time
  • The potential placement is also directly dependent upon how quickly and efficiently your publicist or PR agency can help the media secure the placement. Media relations is crucial. Your publicist’s job is to make the reporter/editor/producer’s job as easy and as effortless as possible, which will lead to quicker and more numerous placements for your business.

    Holiday publicity opportunities

    If your product/business lends itself to increased holiday sales, the next several weeks are a perfect time to get a product publicity campaign launched — given the right media targets. Although many holiday issues have already been laid out for magazines, many other media outlets are feverishly seeking information and pitches on innovative stories for the holidays. Some media outlets even reorganize or beef up staff toward the end of the year to allow for an increase in stories on products. Have your publicist help you take advantage of this increased media opportunity.

    I have, in fact, had media outlets respond to our media release literally minutes after pitching it. Conversely, one media outlet responded to one of our releases 17 months after a pitch. (I had to ask the reporter what year was on the release). You can definitely increase the odds with some hard work and effective media relations. That’s why the timing of your publicity pitch is so critical. Have your publicist get your pitch to the media, allow the editorial staff to digest it a bit and strategically and professionally “rattle the cage” over the next several weeks to generate as many placements as possible.

    What we are trying to do is plant seeds in media outlets’ editorial garden so they will bear fruit – in the form of articles or show placements – continuously over the next several weeks and months. Like the plant that comes from a seed, publicity placements can also grow roots and lead to other arterial media placements in other media outlets. Given the right tending, the publicity seeds you plant over the next few weeks will indeed germinate and you’ll reap a wonderful harvest for your business now and into the first quarter of next year.

    Attention helps companies who are disappointed by the awareness of their company, products or services and are looking to raise visibility to generate new business. We can help plant the seeds of publicity today for a more profitable tomorrow. For more information visit www.attentiongroup.com , email us at info@attentiongroup.com or call (770) 777-9489.